An eating disorder is characterized by severe disturbances in eating behaviour and can be a complex, potentially life-threatening condition.
An eating disorder may be a way of coping with emotional distress or it may be a symptom of underlying issues. It is important to acknowledge that
- Eating disorders are not primarily about food
- People can and do recover
- Eating disorders can affect anyone
An eating disorder can be very destructive, both physically and emotionally, and people can get trapped into the destructive cycle of the eating disorder without knowing how to cope with it. The longer it is established, the more it takes on a life of its own, so early intervention is really important.
An eating disorder is not just about food and weight, but also about a person’s sense of who they are. Understanding the emotional background of the eating disorder is crucial to developing an appropriate response and treatment approach. Therefore treatment of eating disorders will require attention to both the physical and the psychological/emotional aspects of the person.
There are 3 main categories: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder.
Typical eating disorder patterns include:
- Self-starvation - by fasting and/or food restriction
- Purging - by self-induced vomiting, over-exercising, or laxative abuse
- Bingeing - by consuming quantities of food beyond what the body needs to satisfy hunger.
Recovery depends on:
- a will to change
- an acknowledgement that the eating disorder is a problem
- working to build up a strong sense of self and a new, healthy way of coping that does not need the eating disorder to feel safe.
Help and Support
- Bodywhys Helpline: Lo-call 1890 200 444